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Continuing with my trend of random thoughts since the Colorado Metalsmithing Conference.

Again, I must revisit Saturday night.  As I mentioned in my first post about this year’s conference, that evening was when the real magic happened for me.  In Harold O’Connor’s studio, with other metalsmiths and my dear sister Lexi, listening to one of the true masters of their craft.  It was profound.  Harold was sitting in his bench chair and he said the word, “Art”.  Simple, clear, distinct.  It resonated in my mind and my soul…. to the very center of my being.  “Art”.  And then he went on…he doesn’t ‘like’ jewelry, he doesn’t wear it and he doesn’t make it, he creates works of “Art”….wearable works of “Art”.


At one point, he got up and went over to another area of his work shop.  He started to pull out his sketch books.  Filled with designs.  He leafed through them with me looking over his shoulder.  Occasionally he would stop on a page and make sure I saw a certain drawing.  I was so touched that he took the time to share.  He discussed how he starts with designs.  He also mentioned how he too suffers occasionally from the dreaded artist block. All of his works are one of a kind, yet he will occasionally return to a certain design and change it up.  I had a golden opportunity to view three of his sketch books.  I hope this helps to convey why the evening was magical for me.  Being able to view his “Art” works.  Clean, pure, simple designs.  It was all about the metal, with an occasional stone.  I was humbled and honored that he would take the time to go through some of his journals, sharing them with us.


What else needs to be said?

For my work to grow and be more meaningful, I realized that I too must strive to create “Art”, yes, wearable works of “Art”.

Thank you Harold, it was a privilege and a moment in time (to quote Lexi), that I will always remember.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Continuing with my random thoughts about what I experienced at the Colorado Metalsmtihing Conference, this one came to the forefront more than once.  Do you think like an artist?

Part of me feels like my answer to this is, no, not yet.  However, I know that I do think like an artist, just not to the extent that our presenters do.  From my perspective, doing a bit of self-evaluation, I do not feel that I am fully engaged in thinking like an artist every day.  After this conference, I want to….I need to think more like an artist every single day!

Perhaps it is because I am pretty equally balanced with the whole right brain (creative) / left brain (logical) thinking process.  I consistently land smack dab in the middle any time I take one of those tests that evaluate which side of the brain dominates your thought process.  I’m sure that is why I am fairly comfortable switching gears from being a geek by day (left brain thinking) to being an artist by night (right brain thinking).

Yet now I have this awareness, an insight into an area I want to address to become a better artist.  That enlightenment came with the first presenter at the conference, Judith Kaufman.

Judith Kaufman

When Judith was 13, her mother signed her up for some metalsmithing classes and from that point on, she was hooked.  She spent almost every free moment in their basement, working on things, refining her technique and how she created her designs.

Judith doesn’t sketch; she doesn’t draw her designs.  As a matter of fact, she said she doesn’t draw well.  I found that very interesting and bit reassuring, because I don’t feel like I draw well either, yet I do sketch things out.  Ever since I started metalwork, I have felt the need to have a clear path of what I wanted to do before I started to work on a piece.  Perhaps that is the logical part of my mind, satisfying the need to have that clear direction. Yet, this isn’t the way Judith works and as she showed us how she approaches her work, I had one of my many ah ha moments.  I realized that she thinks like an artist all the time!  Well, of course she does.

On her workbench, she lays out a variety of gem stones, previously assembled bits and pieces and just searches through them until one of them speaks to her.  She will pull that one out and start looking for something to pair with it.  So the process continues until she has her next work in front of her.  As she said, she doesn’t sketch but she does sort through the myriad of shapes, colors and textures until she finds the right matches and off she goes to make something breathtakingly stunning.  That spoke volumes to me about thinking like an artist.

She commented that as she looks at a completed piece, she could trace back to where the inspiration came from.  When she would see something, it was some how tucked away in her subconscious and would manifest itself in these creations as she searched through her table top of treasures.  Unconsciously, she was searching for the right components to replicate something she has seen.  She said, find beauty in the mundane.  Interesting concept, right?  Once a piece was completed, it took her back to that thing that had inspired it.  She provided this quote that pretty much sums up that principle:

She showed photos of things that inspired her pieces, one came from rain drops, another from some tree branches.  Now I didn’t think any of these things were mundane, but I guess for some they are.  As she discussed these things, I realized how much I need to exercise the right side of my brain to think more like an artist.  Be open every day to taking things into your mind and appreciate the small details of beauty that exist in the most common things you see.  I think it takes practice, but I want to do that every day until it is ingrained into the way I process information.

Judith Post Presentation

This way of viewing the world reminds me of some of the vacations Dan & I have taken to some of our National Parks like Bryce, Zion, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  People would rush from their cars, snap a couple of pictures of a breathtaking waterfall or magnificent mountain and then scurry back to their car to quickly head off to another place.  They would spend less than 5 minutes in some of the most spectacular places.  Why bother to make the trip at all?

For Dan & I, our approach is to linger…take it all in.  You just traveled hundreds of miles, spend some time to see the vistas, experience nature.  Cameras in hand, we would hike, drinking in as many aspects of the scenery as we could.  Large and small scale.  Truly “taking time to smell the roses”.  Savor that dew covered leaf, the mist from the tremendous force of a waterfall, stop and watch a moose in a pond…knowing full well that she was aware of us, but allowed us the honor of watching her in her element.  Slow down, take life in and now, more so than ever before, I want to convey those things in my work.  Think like an artist.

As I reflect on this, I am realizing that I do think like an artist more than I thought.  Perhaps these artistic Olympians at our conference have just put the spotlight on my need to be even more artistic.

To be continued…..

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

the 2011 Colorado Metalsmithing Association’s (CoMA) Conference.

This past weekend I attended the annual CoMA Conference, which is held at the Steamplant in downtown Salida, Colorado.  It is one of the few places we have found that will allow open flames from the torches used in metalwork.  The weather was hot as usual and this was my second time to attend the conference since joining the organization 2 1/2 years ago.

Lexi and I were conference buddies again.  There’s nothing better than sharing these experiences with your sister/best friend.

Left to right: Avi Good, Hoss Haley, Tom Muir & Michael Zobel (Judith had another commitment)

The speakers we had this year were Michael Zobel, Judith Kaufman, Tom Muir, Hoss Haley, and Avi Good (Michael Good’s daughter).  Each one brought something unique to the table.  I know, duh, why else would they have been invited to speak?  I guess what I wasn’t prepared for was the profound impact these artists would have on me as they spoke.  While Avi isn’t an artist, she knows the business side of things and she is one of the most delightful people I have ever met.

That is just one of the great things about the CoMA conference….everyone is so approachable.  These super stars of the metalsmithing world are just regular people and don’t have body guards to keep the crowds at bay.  I was able to speak to each one on an individual basis, thank them for coming and their insights.  How awesome is that?

For me, this year’s conference was even more intense than what I experienced last year.  Today my mind is swimming with thoughts, overflowing if you will.  It feels like my brain has reached full capacity with all the sights and sounds I took  in… so much so that I don’t think one more drop of creative stimulus could be handled until I have time to digest, percolate, sort, and process the vast amounts of sensory overload I experienced.  Am I feeling a bit overwhelmed? Yes, but that’s a good thing!  😀

I’m trying to put all the parts and pieces of this experience together so it’s not so chaotic in my mind. Today I thought it was very important to write about my experiences here, because my blog is my metalsmithing journal.  The process of assessing my thoughts in writing should help put things in perspective.  I may do several posts as my thoughts gel and I’m able to elaborate on the key points.

Hopefully that helps to explain why I titled this post Random Thoughts About…. because right now I have so many random thoughts about what I experienced at this conference that I just don’t know where to begin.

I will tell you that Saturday night was magical.  I’m serious as a heart attack about that point.  A small group of us was invited to Harold O’Connor’s studio to listen to his thoughts about art, see where he creates and even ask questions.  It was a very special evening and such an honor to be included in the group of invitees.  Harold has such great talent, skill and knowledge; classically trained in Europe.  What an invaluable opportunity to listen to someone who has accomplished so much throughout his lifetime.  It is something I will always treasure.  As he spoke about his work and the concept of art, I knew I had to look at what I do as an artist from a completely new perspective.  It shook me to the core…the realization of where I am as an artist and where I want to be.  He invited our questions and answered each one.  To listen to him talking about a range of topics in his studio, well, that was a purely magical evening for me.

For now, I’ll leave this as a to be continued… as I work on getting some perspective on the impact the conference and its surrounding events had on me.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

This weekend I attended the Colorado Metalsmiths Conference (CoMA) in Salida, Colorado. It was the first time I attended this event and I don’t think the enormity of what I experience has even begun to sink in yet.

The conference started on Friday afternoon and went through Sunday morning. This year was a record breaking crowd of 170 attendees from all over the United States.  I think there were even some international visitors.  I was told this event has grown tremendously.

My dear friend and mentor, Lexi Erickson, was my tour guide & constant companion for the weekend.  Thank you Lexi!

The presenters at this years conference were truly Masters of Metal. For me, the standout was Albert Paley. I couldn’t take notes fast enough as he shared his thoughts, philosophy, and work. His life’s work is jaw dropping, stunningly beautiful, masterful.  “Understand the material and its limits.”  “Find an environment to express who you are.”  “Self imposed limitations are your greatest limitation.”  Pearls of wisdom here folks!

Albert Paley

I took a number of photos and I apologize for their quality. Given the lighting at the convention center, I’m actually quite happy with the way they turned out though.

This is an example of Paley’s work, from one of the slides in his presentation.  That’s metal!  The graceful lines, the connections with all of the parts within the piece.  I am in awe.

One of my newest prized possessions is the book, Albert Paley | Portals & Gates.  He could only bring a few of his books to this conference.  And there were 170 people in the audience mind you.  At the end of the question and answer period, he said he would sign copies of the books he brought with them.  Now, I was probably about 10 rows up from the stage with Lexi and a group of friends….and we didn’t pull a “Wonder Woman” to get down there, BUT both Lexi & I found a book to purchase and have him autograph!  Talk about blessed, excited and thrilled!!!!

Now you would think that would be good, and it was, but Lexi said “Take my picture with Paley in the background”.  Of course I obliged.  Then I thought, ok, take mine!  Which Lexi did.  People thought it was quite amusing to see me in the background grinning like the Cheshire Cat.  I just couldn’t help myself!  I was so tickled to have procured not only an autographed book, but now a picture with a metalsmithing celebrity!

Albert Paley (left) and me

The next morning I was drawing Paley inspired designs in my sketch book.  Whether I can pull any of them off, remains to be seen, but I am delighted to have had this experience.

The next presenter that wowed me was Michael Good.  He shared his thoughts about being a jeweler and his work.  “Eliminate barriers”  “Keep things simple”  “Minimize what you do”

Michael Good

An Example of Good's Work From His Slides

Sunday morning was the finale and concluded with Pat Flynn.  He works with steel and gold.  He started working with old iron nails and found metal from house renovations.  How interesting is that?  “Look at work you don’t like, to define how you want your work to be”

Pat Flynn

Example of Pat Flynn's Work From His Slides

All of the presenters shared their points of view and the path they followed to be where they are today.  Fascinating.  I think my subconscious will be digesting the vast amount of information for quite a while.  I’m anxious to see the impact this will have on my future work.

Salida has some wonderful settings.  This river runs along where the convention took place.  Great to take a walk and listen to the sounds of the water as it flows past.

Here’s a shot of some of the conference attendees gathering around the stage after a presentation.

CoMA really did a great job putting on a quality conference.  The banquet took place Saturday night, very casual, very Colorado.  There was a silent auction to raise money for the group.  Lots of wonderful donations.  As things progressed over the weekend, I do think I was under the influence of information overload.  So many sights and sounds.

Since it was my first time attending the conference, I became Lexi’s shadow.  She knows so many people.  It was great fun to watch her reunite with her friends and meet new ones.

I was fortunate to acquire a pair of Julie Jerman-Melka’s earrings.  She is one of Lexi’s closest friends and it was wonderful to finally meet her after admiring her work.  On Saturday, she was wearing one of her new earring designs and I fell in love with them.  I asked her if they were available for purchase and presto chango, they became mine.  Julie works with river rocks, silver and precious stones.  This pair has raw diamonds and I am honored to have them.

My New Earrings by Julie Jerman-Melka

I can definitely understand the importance of attending this type of conference.  The exposure to such Masters of Metal, along with the outstanding talent within the group of attendees, is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the CoMA Convention.  Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Imperial Jasper

Yesterday, I went to The Rocky Mountain Bead Society’s 2010 Bead Bazaar at the Denver Merchandise Mart.  That was no small feat considering the surprise winter storm that came through the area on Friday and Saturday.  Fortunately, my dear friend and mentor, Lexi Erickson, offered to let me spend the night if I could manage to get up to Denver.  There was a 2-3 hour break in the weather that allowed me to make it to Denver on Friday evening.  Thank you Lexi & Mark!  Lexi and I had been planning on going to this bead event for a while because  Gary B Wilson and his wife Kathy would be there with his cabochons.  Both of us were on the hunt for fabulous stones that would be perfect for a show we will be doing at the Botanical Gardens this fall, along with another 20+ members of Colorado Metalsmiths Association.

This Imperial Jasper was one of my key finds.  I spent a good hour looking for the right stones for the work I have in mind for this upcoming show.  It was a while before I found it, but when I did I thought it was magnificent.  It’s larger than anything I’ve ever done.  It makes a statement.  And it definitely shows Gary’s care and craftsmanship as a stone cutter.  The thing is, I put it back, thinking it was too bold, too much for me to try.  Lexi and I walked around the show while Kathy & her daughter were tallying our bill.  The image of this stone started to haunt me and just got stronger in my mind.  Lexi has told me if you find that one stone that speaks to you, get it or it will always call to you.

We sat at one of the lunch tables to rest and I told her about this stone.  She had seen it and knew which one I was talking about.  I told her it was haunting me.  She said if it was one of those stones, then I needed to get it.  I thought if it was still there, it was meant to be.  As the picture confirms, I have this stone in my possession.  I want it to be my standout piece for this fall show.

This picture, and the others in this post, are ones I have taken as part of my inventory process.  They don’t do the stones justice but I can tell you for a fact that they are beautiful.  They have been cut by a master.  Gary has a way of bringing out elements in a stone that are perfect for the Art Jeweler.  Now his work is done and mine begins with designs and metal work to enhance the beauty of these stones.  The next time you see any of these stones, they will be in their settings and Dan will take those wonderful photographs that he does that does justice to the work.

More Imperial Jaspers

The rich forest green shades in these Imperial Jaspers were too hard for me to resist. There is a pair that should make a wonderful set of earrings as companions to the big stone pictured at the beginning of this post.  I am exited about the possibilities for this new work.  I have this sense that some of these are perfect fits for my Soul Searching Series.  Time will tell.

Amethyst Sage

This time I indulged my love of purple more than I allowed myself at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show. These two are a couple of my favorites. The one on the left is a very striking stone; it has a lot of depth.  These are the types of things that Gary does with his work.  If you ever have an opportunity to see his work in person, please do so.  And introduce yourself to Gary and his wife, Kathy.  They are good people.

Red Jaspers

Lexi has gotten me hooked on Red Jaspers. She found that heart shaped stone and in my box it went. Hearts have proven to be a real design challenge for me, so we’ll see how I do with this one.  I know she likes to challenge me so I am certain that is why this heart came my way.

I had to share some of Gary’s work.  It’s time for me to get busy!

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Zion’s Waterfall of Perseverance

Photo Credit ~ Daniel Krucoff

Another piece from my Soul Searching Series; I call this one Zion’s Waterfall of Perseverance.  It had quite the journey, creatively speaking, to arrive at this destination!

The stone is an Ohio Flint that I purchased from Michael Hendrix of Minarex.  This was one of the first stones I purchased during the Gem & Mineral Show week in Denver.  Michael had a sneak preview of his works for CoMA members and I took my time looking over the collection of stones he presented.  This one jumped out at me and from the minute I saw it, I could see this lovely waterfall in the center of this.  What I envision as a waterfall in this stone is a very thin, pale blue section and I’m hoping that your various computer monitors will allow you to see the delicate color of the waterfall here.  It immediately reminded me of the scenery Dan & I have enjoyed during our visit to Zion National Park.  This waterfall is gracefully flowing and carving out its place in the deep brown ridges of the stone that surrounds it.  At the bottom I can see the mist rising up as the waterfall completes its journey.  I find it a spectacular stone.

Now this is one of those stones that haunted me during my creative block.  Circle shapes shouldn’t be a big deal to design around, right?  Well, apparently they can cause their own set of design issues.  Lexi guided me and things evolved.

The shape for the setting is more of a rounded square.  I chose a copper setting with sterling silver accents.  The accents came into play after I set the bezel for this stone.  Once I had the bezel soldered in place, I had a problem.  The join for the bezel ends came apart.  But as I looked at it, I saw the design evolving.  Why not open the bezel up even farther and have the stream/mist of the waterfall extend into the setting?  Sure, that will work!  And then I added a silver moon to the right.  Now I have a landscape and I’m luvin’ it.

First I opened up the bezel a little more to show the flow of the stream I see in this stone.  I then rounded the edges of the bezel to follow the gentle curves of the ‘water’ in the stone.  Next, I textured some sterling silver and drew what a felt would be the graceful lines of the stream after the waterfall entered it.  I used my saw to create those gentle lines of the water’s edge in the silver.   I soldered that overlay in place and then trimmed the excess from the side edge with my saw.  I filed the edges smooth and now there is an extension from the ‘water’ in the stone.  The little circle in the upper right is my representational moon.

There’s a simple copper bail on the back to accommodate most necklaces.  In this photo is one of those 50 strand black steel necklaces.  I find them very versatile.

My last step was to add a patina finish.  I’ve been using the new liver of sulpher gel and love the effects.  Once I had the color I wanted on the copper I quickly stopped the patina process.  And I wanted to get back the shiny silver, so I used one of those 3M polishing ‘spiders’ to take the patina off the silver accents.

I think my perseverance paid off and that’s how the title for this piece came to me.  It reminded me of a waterfall in Zion and was also evidence that perseverance pays off!  I hope you enjoyed its journey.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

FirstStonesMinarexThe Denver Gem and Mineral Show takes place this week.  This is my first time attending the event and I haven’t even made it to the show yet!  Since I am a member of the Colorado Metalsmithing Association, we were invited to a private showing of Micahel Hendrix’s work.  It was such a pleasure to meet Michael and have a chance to see his work.  Lexi was my guide for the evening and introduced me to Michael and some of her friends.  It was a totally new experience for me and I was a little confused by my reaction to the process of selecting my own stones.  I really felt confused at first.

Michael had his work on the host’s dining room table and everyone was circling, picking up stones, holding them under the Ott lights or the natural light coming through the windows to get a feel for how the stones looked, their color, and I’m not sure what else.  I started to pick up a few and it did take me a while to finally see what I was looking for in a stone.  Then the stones started to ‘speak’ to me.  All of a sudden I just knew what was right for me and the work I wanted to do.  That was liberating.

I really can’t tell you how many times I circled that table, pick up different stones, putting some back.  Initially I think I had 6 – 8 stones, none of the ones pictured above.  Those came after my moment of enlightenment.  I kept coming back to certain patterns and colors.  I made a point of staying away from purples….I know this will shock many of you who know me, as purple is my color (Holly, I’m certain you gasped when you read this part!).  I wanted something different and all of a sudden I knew these stones I finally selected were representations of my work.  They looked like scenes.  I could see landscapes, trees, waterfalls, and even beautiful, abstract alien landscapes of distant planets.  So these are my first picks for the week.  And I wanted to provide up close shots for you to see the beauty of these stones, so here they are……………….

Ohio Flint

Ohio Flint

In this stone, I see a waterfall.  And the variations in the stone remind me of scenes that Dan has photographed when we were in Zion National Park.  One of my goals in this process is to pick two stones of the same type so I could have one for myself if I wanted.  Lexi has written about this on her blog too.  However, for this Ohio Flint, I was unable to find another piece of that stone.  This is one of those that is so beautiful, reminding me of Zion and the times Dan & I have spent there, that I envision it as a pendant I will keep for myself.

Orbicular Jasper ~ Madagascar

Orbicular Jasper ~ Madagascar

Again I see landscapes in these two pieces of Oribcular Jasper.  I picked up the piece on the right first and just couldn’t seem to put it down.  I saw sand dunes, rock formations, just lovely earthy designs in this piece.  And I looked and looked and looked for another piece in the same family.  I had actually put it back and was on the opposite side of the table when I found its partner on the left.  Oh I was so delighted as this stone had more color and reminded me of a tree with a sunset in the background.  I quickly scanned the other side of the table in hopes that the piece on the right was still available….and as the picture shows, it was.  What fun!

Brunean Jasper

Brunean Jasper

More from the Jasper family.  The rich russet browns, combined with sandy colorations  captured my eye.  Mores scenes of Bryce or Zion National Parks entered my mind.  I felt I was hitting my stride and I understood what I was looking for in stones.  Oh what a feeling!

Texas Flint

Texas Flint

I was intrigued by the contrasts in these two. The rich burgundy complimented by honey shades and striking whites just reminded me of another world.  A distant planet churning with chemical reactions.  And the shapes of these stones are unique.

There was one other stone, also in the Orbicular Jasper group, but it just didn’t speak to me as the others had.  I put it back for the third time and knew I made the right decision.

When I brought my tray with these 7 stones, Michael looked at my selections.  He sat back, looked at me, looked at the stones and said, “You have a wonderful eye. Great palettes. If your jewelry designs are as good as your choices here, you are on the way to being a great jewelry designer”.  I was blown away.  I have witnesses too of what he said.  He has the greatest respect and admiration for Lexi.  He knows I am one of her students.  He told me that Lexi is a gifted metalsmith.  She is.  And when I shared this with Lexi, she said Michael is a very genuine person and he would not tell me something he didn’t believe to be true.  I am honored and humbled.  Now it’s time to do justice to these beautiful stones with some great designs. And to live up to being one of Lexi’s students.

As I did in my last post, I’d like to share another business card with you, this time, Michael’s.  If you can make it to the Gem & Mineral Show in Denver this week, please look him up.  If you are looking for a particular type of stone, email him or call.  He is helpful, knowledgeable, and gracious.  And I can assure you, you will have a beautiful cabochon or two or three…. 🙂


I’ll be heading up to Denver for the show on Friday.  Lexi will be my guide again and I’m certain it will be a great day of fun and sensory overload.  I’ll keep you posted.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person!

Over the past number of years I have embarked on my artistic calling.  My mother had always encouraged my artistic tendencies, but I dismissed that as a career path for me because how could I ever make a living at it!!!  Oh how foolish I was.  Now I am making up for lost time and perhaps this really was the way things were meant to be.  I have life lessons and experience to make my art be what it was meant to be now.

I knew since the early ’80s that glass was my medium.  However, some form of metal work was always connected with that….lead, solder, copper foil, zinc.  I didn’t put the relationship together, in terms of that “ah ha!” moment until the last 30 days.  And now it makes sense.  Sometimes it takes me a while to put the pieces together…does that ever happen for you?

On the weekend of June 13 – 14, 2009, I took my first Art Jewelry Design Workshop from Lexi Erickson.  It was an intense two day workshop that covered a semester’s worth of instruction.  On Day 2, I started to see designs for new pieces in many places.  Lexi said this would happen.  Even though I was a little shocked by the process starting so soon, I enjoyed that it had started to happen and it continues with ideas exploding  in my mind on a daily basis now.  Journals for those ideas are becoming vitally important.  Sometimes I have trouble getting things down on paper as I picture them in my mind.  I know with practice my drawing ability will improve and I will be able to put on paper what I see in my mind.

There aren’t many times when a special relationship starts.  However, something happened  the first time I met Lexi was at the sneak preview weekend for Coyote Creek Studio Arts, on May 16, 2009.  We had an instant connection and now we have a friendship that is growing.  Lexi is my mentor.  I have the greatest respect and admiration for her.  And she is a dear, dear friend.

Last Wednesday, July 8, 2009, I had my first lesson with her since that weekend workshop at Coyote Creek in Fairplay, Colorado.  I prepared two pendants and learned how to set a bezel on a textured surface.  With Lexi’s guidance, I learned this technique and will need to continue to practice it.  Here are pictures of those completed pendants.  To me they show promise of where my work is today and a knowledge of where it can grow with continued work on my part.Copper BlazeLapis Pendant

Last night, Lexi invited me to meet her friend Helen Driggs who is in town for the CoMA Conference that will take place in Salida, Colorado this weekend.  It was such a fun evening.  My great fortune to be invited and have the opportunity listen to two very talented metalsmiths discussing their passion for the medium, the art, their work.  Amazing stuff.  That’s Lexi…sharing, giving, open.  And I realize that I am a fledgling with a burning desire to learn all I can about working with metal.  It will take time and patience.  Trial and error on my part.

So this morning I was thinking about the mystical qualities of metal work.  Right now it seems quite mystical for me…. almost magical…which led me to create this blog.  Mystical Mythical Metalwork.  Yes, a lot of words, however they just kept rolling over and over in my mind.  Mystical because there is so much mystery to the metal for me.  I have to discover how to employ the different means of working with metal.  Mythical…because I think about those wonderful myths surrounding metal…like The Legend of King Arthur…drawing the sword from the stone or the Elves ethereal metal for the sword from The Lord of the Rings.  One of my goals and aspirations is to create metal work that has that mythical quality about it.  And the last word, Metalwork, well that’s pretty obvious….it’s about the METAL!!!

Metal is a somewhat new medium for me to work with, but in my stained glass work, it has always been there…either through the solder, the copper foil that holds the piece together, or the lead channel (if that is how I built a window), or the zinc frame to stabilize a window.  Metal was always a part of my glass process…this was my ah ha! realization moment that Metal is a much a part of my work as Glass.  Last year I learned how to incorporate metal inclusions in my fused glass works.  For my glass jewelry, I wire wrapped it to distinguish it even more and make each piece truly unique.  So yes, metal is an integral part of my work, I just never realized it until recently.

This blog will focus on my journey as a fledgling metalsmith.  I plan to grow and someday look back on this moment in time with a sense of accomplishment about where I was as I started this journey and where it led me.  I hope you will enjoy following me and sharing this journey with me.

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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